Lawyer Repping Turkey Urges Obama to Extradite Muslim Cleric Gulen

Fethullah Gulen, an ally-turned-enemy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been charged in Turkey with "running a terrorist group"
AFP Photo/Selahattin Sevi

Robert Amsterdam, the attorney spearheading an international investigation on behalf of the Turkish government into the allegedly illegal “activities of the organization led by” Fethullah Gülen, called upon President Obama to extradite the Muslim cleric back to Turkey.

“Gülen is a threat to the U.S. and the Obama Administration should stand by Turkey — a longtime ally of the United States,” said Amsterdam just one day before the attempted military coup erupted in Turkey.

Since 1999, Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania. He is considered a fierce opponent of Turkish President Erdoğan, whose government came under attack Friday night. However, earlier in the week, the Daily Sabah reported the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office was in the process of filing paperwork with the Justice Ministry to extradite Gülen back to Turkey. They planned to follow up with making a formal extradition request to the U.S. Justice Department. Gülen stands accused of leading a terrorist organization and of attempting to infiltrate and overthrow the currently elected government, according to the publication.

In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas Friday night, Amsterdam asserted there were “indications of direct involvement” by Gülen in the unfolding military upheaval. Breitbart News reported Turkey’s Justice Minister claimed the coup was led by Gülen followers. The New York Times reported Erdoğan blamed the coup attempt on Gülen. Later, President Obama issued a statement backing Turkey’s elected Islamist government led by Erdoğan, a government which has become more radical year by year, Breitbart News reported. Amsterdam, though, responded by saying he felt “completely disheartened by the delayed and meek response statements of the U.S. government thus far.”

In 2015, the Republic of Turkey hired Amsterdam & Partners LLP, which specializes in political advocacy and cross-border disputes, to conduct the comprehensive probe into Gülen’s purported criminal conduct through the Gülen Organization.

In Texas, Amsterdam filed two formal complaints with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) against the Cosmos Foundation, the charter holder and governing board for Harmony Public Schools. The charter chain has 46 campuses and serves almost 31,000 students. Purportedly, it is tied to Gülen. In late May, Breitbart Texas reported Amsterdam called upon the TEA to open a full scale investigation into Harmony’s practices and affiliations, citing misuse of the H-1B visa program, discriminatory employment and vendor bidding practices, plus funneling money to the Gülen Organization, which Erdoğan previously accused of trying to overthrow the Turkish government.

Breitbart Texas then reported on a second complaint filed by the law firm in early July. It alleged fraud and financial wrongdoing with $18.4 million worth of Texas taxpayer dollars, involving kick-backs, managerial conflicts-of-interest, and other questionable business practices. Harmony officials continue to dispute these allegations and deny any connections to the cleric.

Gülen supporters reportedly started as many as 1,000 schools in more than 100 countries, including approximately 150 taxpayer-funded open enrollment charter schools throughout the United States. Suspect charters operate under different names across the country. According to Amsterdam & Partners, Gülen-affiliated charters target the poorest students in states including Texas, California, Florida, Illinois, and the District of Columbia to reap the greatest tax benefit from accepting these students.

In 2014, Georgia shut down its Gülen schools over repeated goverance and transparency issues. That same year, Gülen-linked schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District in California were investigated on charges of major irregularities and misappropriation of taxpayer funds. The FBI raided 19 of these charter schools in the Midwest, according to the law firm, as part of an investigation into the misappropriation of federal funds. 

In Texas, these schools are funded by more than $250 million state and federal taxpayer dollars annually. Harmony plan to open 15 new campuses in the Lone Star State over the next two school years, adding approximately 10,000 students.

“Gülen abuses American labor and immigration laws, while also using taxpayer money to push this agenda with students. He should not be allowed to remain in the U.S. unchecked,” added Amsterdam on Thursday.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.